|Somewhere between the shrouded depths of color and mended layers of texture lies the expression of energy, freed from rational control, and yet still clinging to the outline of a simple object. Automatic drawing and action painting developed by the Surrealists and Abstract Expressionist movements were in essence, journeys into the chaotic subconscious and the distinct characteristics of human behavior unbound. The work was not about deliberate strokes and rational choices, rather about a process in which the very action of making art became paramount in the visual dialogue it encouraged.|
Sarah Dotts on Nacho Murillo
Somewhere between the shrouded depths of color and mended layers of texture lies the expression of energy, freed from rational control, and yet still clinging to the outline of a simple object. Automatic drawing and action painting developed by the Surrealists and Abstract Expressionist movements were in essence, journeys into the chaotic subconscious and the distinct characteristics of human behavior unbound. The work was not about deliberate strokes and rational choices, rather about a process in which the very action of making art became paramount in the visual dialogue it encouraged.
Leaving his traces, Nacho Murillo brings both the physics of automatic drawing, collage, and an action painting method to the canvas without preconceived notions. His intentions are shown through his illusionist approach to portraying the simple objects that surround daily life. Bold colors abound (and crude single strokes of paint and charcoal), undiluted, saturated acrylic paired with floral fabrics of both simple cotton and silk speak of action, cutting, sewing. His loose sketches outlining the shape of a cup or a tree are almost entirely devoid of gravity, strange and otherworldly.
Inspired by movement and form, the drawings and collages of Nacho Murillo exude an ecstatic energy. Bringing bright, saturated colors, rich textures, and a freehanded approach to his vibrant mixed-media collages, his works deposit an electric charge to any gallery space. A series of his mixed-media collages were created site-specifically during his stay in New York City, and were on show at the Broadway Gallery recently. Some of his previous works, created for the artist-in-residency show at NY Arts Beijing, were included for continuity.
In his latest work the cup is animated into a sort of ecstatic state, exploring ideas of form and variation in a continuous theme, as in A Slip and 473 Broadway. In an instant, objects are brought to life and present their viewer’s eyes with the strange juxtaposition of familiar and informal representation. For Murillo the cup is symbolic of the cup of life, a single cup that holds all that can be consumed. He takes the refuse and small charms alike, piecemeal, from city streets and daily activities as inspiration for his collages.
Other elements that take form in his work, such as trees or shoes, at a glance seem to have unintentionally resulted from such an energetically charged collage process. In Blue Suede Shoes, Murillo delivers the loose sketch of a sneaker across a quilted canvas of brightly woven print fabrics. The large and overly simplified shoe introduces an element of the absurd, yet feels rich with luscious patterned fabrics in the background. It is vibrant and yet slightly ridiculous, echoing the song after which it is named.
When looking at his work the very trace of his aggressive stroke gives off the uncanny impression that Murillo’s intuitive sense of color and composition accommodate the rapid spawning of his completed canvases. His spontaneous methods carry out into his own life where he collects tidbits and uses vibrant colors and fabrics taken from old clothes or beautifully woven found fabrics. His personality is as sparkling and energetic as his work—he intensively works to incorporate exciting lines, forms, prints, and textures. Working mostly at night, he combines materials together across large sections of raw, unbound canvas that will be nailed to the gallery wall before final strokes and elements are applied.
Once again the excitement of gesture is raised, as the act of painting and the application of paint to canvas is presented undisguised to the viewer’s eye. He worked up to the very day of his opening at New York’s Broadway Gallery, adding new splashes and drips of paint at night, absentmindedly leaving bright jars of acrylic open on the floor, and finally letting charcoal lines extend out beyond the canvas onto the very walls that carried them. He is a highly receptive artist; taking in as much diverse energy as he puts back out into the world, open to new experiences and tempos. His paintings ride the fine line of melodic versus discordant.
The work was never objects that came from an artist’s studio, rather work that had been made in the gallery it would be shown in, open to the public’s eyes throughout the inception and creation process. Having spent the past three months in both Beijing and New York as an artist in residence, Murillo brings new meaning to the term. 473 Broadway was named for the place of its inception, the Broadway Gallery, and exudes the specific memories that he experienced during his time in residency.
Murillo, who hails from Valencia, Spain, comes from a family of doctors and is also medically licensed. However, after diverting his energies to painting long ago, Murillo concedes that painting “is a very dangerous profession.” The fervor and heat of his pieces reflect the vehemence of a very rare breed of artists, successfully communicating the passion he puts into his life’s work.
On February 20, his new body of 20 paintings, including two from his time in New York and in Beijing, will be opening at Valencia’s Balau Museum. Continuing to explore the act of making site-specific art through traveling, Murillo will spend the spring of 2008 at an artist residency in Panama.